by Jess Thaman

Linda Mason, assistant director of Children of Promise, Danielle Brossart, technology associate, and Juliette Wilson, South Carolina volunteer, recently returned to the office after a trip to the Caribbean where they interviewed children, visited with our directors and volunteers, and saw firsthand the work of Children of Promise. They were astounded by the dedication, perseverance, and love shown by all the directors and volunteers they saw.

One of the areas they were able to visit was Moises, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Odette Lohman, the national director of COP in the DR, and Pastor Maira have dedicated their lives to the children and community in which they serve. Maira grew up in extreme poverty herself, but later on in life she and her husband were living in a nice home in Santo Domingo. Maira has been a faithful leader with Children of Promise and has a strong love for the children she serves. Several times a week she would make the long commute to Haras Nacionales, a rural area outside of the city, which became too much after the birth of her second child. It was then that she and her husband chose to move their family to the slum area where she had been serving the sponsored children. Maira selflessly serves the children every day and leaving her home was only the beginning of her remarkable story.

Odette and Maira recognized that the educational system in the Dominican could not offer much to students in poor areas. Classrooms are overcrowded, children are not given foods with nutritional value, and parents do not know how to help their children study. Due to these factors, some Dominican children are 4 to 5 years behind in their education. Odette shared, “We have students in the sixth grade who cannot read.”

In an effort to combat these obstacles, Maira and two volunteers have been leading tutoring sessions for the children in the local Church of God. There are 23 students enrolled in the tutoring sessions, most are Children of Promise sponsored children. They receive help with their homework, learn the alphabet, and take music lessons. During their lessons, children learn to play the flute. Linda and Danielle were able to listen as small groups of children played hymns during worship. Linda commented, “It was quite impressive. The children have learned so much through the program.” With the love the children receive from Pastor Maira and other volunteers, the children conquer each new lesson with great joy and confidence.

Stories such as these are the heart of Children of Promise. The directors and volunteers across the world give of their lives selflessly to serve the children in the name of Jesus. It is not a small feat to change the life of a child, it truly takes a village. To our directors, volunteers, and sponsors, thank you for the vital part that you have played in our efforts to serve children. Your contributions have not gone unnoticed. Without even one small piece, our work could not be done. To change the lives of children, it takes each one of us. Thank you for joining the village.